Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Uniforms of "Kidnapped" from Contemporary Pictures

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped is an interesting look at Scotland in the aftermath of the last great Jacobite rising. What sets this novel (and its sequel, Catriona) apart from others set in the same era is the thorough research that Stevenson put into them.

Early in the book, David Balfour comes into Edinburgh, where he sees a regiment on parade, where the grenadiers described as wearing “pope-hats.” This is perfectly correct, as British grenadiers wore tall pointed miter caps, much like bishops’ hats. Painter David Morier painted this group of three grenadiers in c. 1751, giving us excellent detail on the appearance of their miter caps. This painting depicts the 46th, 47th, and 48th Regiments of Foot, and while none of these may be the regiment Balfour saw, their general appearance would be the same. The major differences between most regiments were the different colors of their lapels and cuffs, and differently-colored decorations in their white lace trim.

After several adventures, David meets a Highland Jacobite named Alan Breck Stewart. Based on a real character from history, Stewart was a former British soldier who switched sides after the battle of Prestonpans. After fighting through the ’45, Stewart escaped to France, where he enlisted with the French Army under Louis XV.

In the historical “Wanted” advertisement after the Appin Murder, it is stated that Stewart came from Ogilvy’s Regiment. This was one of two units of Scots in the service of Louis XV of France. Ogilvy’s Regiment is illustrated by an important manuscript entitled “Troupes du Roi” and this manuscript was drawn in 1757. For more details about Ogilvy’s Regiment, visit
http://kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Ogilvy_Infanterie. I am greatly indebted to Ian Nimmo for his short biography, The Man with the Belt of Gold, where he reproduces the original advertisement for Alan Breck Stewart. (which can be read at http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org/heritagetrust/documents/alanbreck.pdf),

While David and Alan are talking aboard ship, Alan mentions that his father Duncan Stewart was a gentleman-soldier in the Black Watch when it was raised. Originally numbered the 43rd Regiment, it received the number 42 after the disbanding of Oglethorpe’s 42nd Regiment. The Black Watch was a unit of Highlanders, dressed in traditional Highland clothing with short red jackets. The tartan pattern known today as “Black Watch” is the same as that which was worn by the 42nd Regiment in the 1740s. This illustration is taken from the 1742 Cloathing Book. 

When Alan Breck Stewart and David Balfour flee through the heather, they are pursued by redcoated line infantry companies and dragoons. The line infantry dressed similarly to the grenadiers (above), wearing a tricorne hat instead of a miter and with no “wings” on the shoulders. Dragoons were mounted infantry who would (in theory) ride to a battlefield and then dismount to serve as infantry. In practice, however, they were more often treated like cavalry, charging on horseback at enemy infantry. The illustration is of a trooper from the 13th Regiment of Dragoons, as depicted in the 1742 Cloathing Book.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at the uniforms of the time. Stay tuned for a post on the uniforms of Stevenson’s sequel—Catriona!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alone Yet Not Alone Movie Review: Part 2

Alone Yet Not Alone
Released 2013
1 hour 43 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

In my previous review (which can be read at http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2016/08/alone-yet-not-alone-movie-review-part-1.html), I dealt with the first half of Alone Yet Not Alone, with Natalie Raccosin in the leading role. The second half begins when Kelly Greyson takes the role of Barbara.

A title announces “Many years later” as the camera pans across the Indian village of Moschingo. But the “many years” they refer to is only 3 years later, in 1759. The movie itself gives multiple clues to confirm this date. In council, the chief mentions that Fort Duquesne has been captured by the English. The Indians decide to form a war party and join the French to retake Fort Duquesne. This points to some time later than 1758, for the British captured Fort Duquesne in November of that year. Yet it cannot be much beyond 1760, as all French troops surrendered in September of 1760. This fixes the date between 1758 and 1760.

Barbara is informed that the warrior Galasko wants to marry her. She determines (after some prodding by her friend and fellow-captive Marie) to escape. Her escape is facilitated by the fact that all of the Indian warriors (except the formidable Hannawoa) have gone to Fort Duquesne to aid the French in defeating the English. 

Again, this is another clue as to an early 1759 setting. The French evacuated Duquesne in November of 1758, so it is no surprise that this distant village of Delaware Indians has not yet learned of its abandonment.

Four English captives—Barbara, Marie, Owen, and David—steal a canoe and paddle away. But Hannawoa remains at the village, realizes that they have escaped, and embarks in pursuit of them. Through forest and stream, waterfall and rock, pursuer and pursued run. At last the foursome are within sight of Fort Pitt, a British outpost on the site of Fort Duquesne (which had been destroyed by the retreating French).  

In his travels, Hannawoa had come across his brother Galasko’s warband. Galasko follows Hannawoa in his pursuit, which irritates Hannawoa so much that he tomahawks his brother in the back. Coldly stealing his weapons (a musket and tomahawk), Hannawoa continues his pursuit of Barbara.

As the captives signal and shout at the fort for assistance, the British and colonists prepare to shoot them down. Fortunately for them, a British officer orders a halt while he asks permission to reconnoiter in a boat.  Several British regulars under Captain Thomas row across to determine whether these escapees are attempting to lure the garrison of Fort Pitt into an ambush. Barbara’s fluency with both English and German persuades them, and they quickly disembark—only to be challenged by Hannawoa.

Hannawoa’s first shot drops a Brit, while the British return volley succeeds in missing him entirely. The British then foolishly run at Hannawoa one by one (without bayonets!), and are hit by his tomahawks. Owen and David attempt to fight back, but one is quickly eliminated.  Captain Thomas, draws a pistol with historically accurate sangfroid and shoots Hannawoa in the shoulder. Yet again the Britisher is sent sprawling on the turf.

Moments from death, Barbara fumbles in Captain Thomas’s belt, draws another pistol and shoots Hannawoa, who is then skewered by a conveniently arriving Redcoat. This scene is undoubtedly the worst in the entire movie. Its historicity is not accurate; in fact, I wrote an entire blog post analyzing this one scene (read it at http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2016/02/british-regulars-from-movie-alone-yet.html)

The four captives are escorted into Fort Pitt, where they have supper and receive lodging for the night. Next morning, Captain Thomas (whose pistol Barbara borrowed) suggests that Barbara and Marie would like a warm bath and a soldier’s wife is quick to oblige. The soap used at Fort Pitt must be extremely strong, as it quickly strips the black dye from Barbara’s hair, returning it to blonde again. A dress worn by Colonel Mercer’s daughter conveniently fits Barbara to a T.

Escorted by the obliging Captain Thomas, Barbara and her friends enter Philadelphia, where she is reunited with her mother and brother. In the 5 years that follow (from 1759 to the end of 1763), the Leininger family raises good crops and becomes quite well-off. Barbara accepts a man named Fritz in marriage and on Christmas Eve of 1763, the entire family gathers together—with the poignant exception of Regina.

A knock pounds on their door, and rather than look out the large glass windows to identify the unexpected visitor, Fritz cocks a musket and points it at the door. When it is opened, it discloses the terrified face of the local Pastor Muhlenberg. Pastor Muhlenberg brings exciting if inaccurate news: “Colonel Armstrong and the Royal Americans have defeated the Ohio Indians!”

The battle that the Reverend refers to is the Battle of Bushy Run on July 3, 1763. There, a force of British and colonial troops defeated an Indian force in a two-day battle. Colonel Henri Bouquet commanded the British, and outfought the Indians with a cunning ambush and feigned retreat. Colonel Armstrong was not a part of the victory and only 16 men of the Royal Americans were part of Bouquet’s force! Actually, the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and Montgomery’s 77th Highlanders comprised 390 men of Bouquet’s force, while the 60th Royal American Regiment (referred to by Pastor Muhlenberg) furnished only 16 men. (1)

Pastor Muhlenberg tells the Leininger family that Colonel Armstrong (it should be Colonel Bouquet) has insisted on the return of all English captives still left in the Indians’ towns as part of the peace treaty. They will be gathered at Fort Carlisle, and Mother and Barbara decide to journey there to find Regina.

They search through endless lines of captives and ask Colonel Armstrong for help. He inquires if Regina had any birthmarks, nicknames, or scars—anything that could identify her. This gives Mother Leininger an idea. Through the lines of captives she walks, singing a German hymn “Alone yet not Alone.” When Regina hears it, she recognizes the song and her mother and is reunited with them. The movie ends with a stirring performance of the song by Joni Eareckson Tada.

The second half of the movie is much weaker than the first. While the first half had good acting, many of the actors in the second half are flat, including Barbara, Owen, and David. However, some actors are good, such as Mother Leininger and Colonel Armstrong.

My score for the second half is 1/5 stars. The ending fight sequence and flat acting make this half much weaker than the first. The best part of the second half is Joni Eareckson Tada’s rendition of the hymn Alone Yet Not Alone.

My overall rating of Alone Yet Not Alone is 2/5 stars. I would recommend this movie for the scenery, some French & Indian War action, and some good performances by some of the actors. Perhaps the best commendation I can give it is to say that when I had finished watching it for the first time, I was eager to paint some French & Indian War figures and recreate this pivotal era for myself. (2)

Would you like to hear the song Alone Yet Not Alone? This video shows Joni Eareckson Tada's performance, as well as some of the best scenes of the movie.


(1) pg. 90, Through So Many Dangers: The Memoirs and Adventures of Robert Kirk by Robert Kirk, Ian McCullough, and Timothy Todish

(2) To see some of my painted soldiers, visit my other blog Red Coats and Ruffles at www.redcoatsandruffles.blogspot.com

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alone Yet Not Alone Movie Review: Part 1

Alone Yet Not Alone
Released 2013
Length: 1 hour 43 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

When this movie was first announced, I was excited. It was a movie set in one of my favorite eras—the French and Indian War! Perhaps it would include the indomitable James Wolfe, the courtly Marquis de Montcalm, or the daring Robert Rogers. Hopefully redcoated British regulars, blue-clad provincials and green-jacketed Rangers would clash with French regulars and painted Indians in epic battles! My sister disagreed with my hopes for the movie. She believed it would be a heart-stirring drama of two sisters who attempt to rebuild their lives in the midst of a war that turns their world upside down.
We were both wrong. Alone Yet Not Alone turned out to be neither what my sister nor I expected. This review will go through the movie’s story as well as a little of the history behind it. Because the movie naturally divides itself into two parts, I will divide my review the same way.

The year is 1755 and the Leininger family has immigrated into the colony of Pennsylvania. There they purchase land and begin a new life for themselves in the wilderness. They quickly plant crops and erect a house.

But trouble is brewing not far away. The pompous British General Edward Braddock dismisses his Indian allies, (against the advice of his superior aide named George Washington) claiming that the British will drive away the French without them. Understandably disturbed, the Indians switch alliances from the British to the French. The history portrayed here is simply absurd. Braddock did not drive away the Indians with his arrogance (for more on this subject, see my series called “The Trial of Edward Braddock” at
http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/Braddock).  The Indians did not join the French because they were rebuffed by Braddock; instead the French had built relationships among the Indians, mainly through the fur trade.

The Delaware warrior Galasko examines the grotto where
Barbara and her sister are hiding
In council, the Delaware Indians decide to take up the hatchet against the British settlements. Two brother warriors named Galasko and Hannewoa descend on the Leiningers’ home when the mother and two brothers are away at town. In a brief fight (the most convincing in the entire movie), the Indians kill the father and the last brother before burning the house and crops to the ground. The Leinginers’ two daughters, Barbara and Regina, flee down the creek into a rocky grotto, but the Indians follow in a canoe and succeed in capturing the two sisters.

Barbara and Regina are marched through Pennsylvania to Fort Du Quesne, but they are separated when the war party they are travelling in breaks up. Regina is sent with one group of Indians while Barbara remains with another group. Barbara is heartbroken, so when an opportunity to rejoin Regina appears (in the shape of a horse), she takes it. Headlong she plunges through thickets in a vain attempt to find her sister. But she is quickly recaptured and sentenced to death. Help arrives from an unexpected source when Galascow intervenes, praising her courage.

Alone Yet Not Alone's portrayal of Fort Duquesne

The Delaware Indians make a journey to a French fortress called Fort Du Quesne. The scenes in Fort Du Quesne are some of the most visually beautiful in the entire movie. Compagnies Franches de la Marine and French militia garrison the fort as war parties of Indians pass through its gates. The year is 1756, a year of success for the French and Indians in their war against the British. Eventually Galasko and his band leave Fort Du Quesne and settle into the village of Kittanning.

Unbeknownst to Barbara and the Delawares, the Pennsylvania Assembly has finally voted to raise money to fight the French and Indians. The Quakers had not wanted to raise money for the military, so a band of irate Scotch-Irish and German settlers marched on Philadelphia. A circumlocution is introduced into the militia bill, agreeing to appropriate money “for the King’s use”. Because the Quakers are not voting to raise money for war, they reluctantly agree, and the bill is passed.

This account is true, but Pennsylvania also suffered from taxation issues: the Assembly wanted to tax the lands of the Penn family, while the Governor (who was their representative) could not agree to it. Eventually the situation was ironed out with a “gift” from the Penn family of 5,000 pounds to help pay for the militia. (1)

John Armstrong is appointed to command the militia of Pennsylvania (at least those west of the Susquehanna River) (2). Their first target is the Indian settlement of Kittanning Village.

Colonel Armstrong (center) prepares to advance
Colonel Armstrong (not Captain; he was promoted in March of 1756) and his raid on Kittanning are true pieces of history; however, they are poorly portrayed in this movie. First of all, Kittanning Village was a collection of about 30 log cabins, rather than the birch-bark wigwams shown in the movie. The raid actually began shortly after dawn, rather than in the afternoon. The Pennsylvania militia is shown as suffering most of their casualties from hand-to-hand fighting. Actually, the Indians positioned themselves in their cabins and engaged in a firefight with the militia. In his report, Captain Armstrong observes that "they seldom missed of killing or wounding some of our people." (3) The tables finally turn for the Pennsylvanians when they light the cabins on fire, causing them to explode because of the large amounts of gunpowder stored within. That would have made an interesting scene for the movie!

As Kittanning Village burns, one of the captives named Lydia attempts to escape with two captive children. She is caught (but the children are found by the Pennsylvanians) and sentenced to die by being burnt at the stake. Some time afterward, a French officer and his men arrive on the scene. This officer is attempting to conduct this war honorably, and torturing a prisoner is dishonorable. 

French lieutenant of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine
He is an important character in the movie, for he provides a counterpoint to the official in Fort Duquesne who is buying scalps. One conducted the war savagely, the other honorably. Yet the character of both were represented in the French military during the French & Indian War. To cite merely one example, Governor-General Vaudreuil meticulously counted the number of scalps brought in by Indians and sent that information to the Minister of Marine in France, while General Montcalm risked his life to save the English (his enemies) from the Indians (his allies) during the Fort William-Henry massacre.

Galasko, Hannawoa, Barbara and the rest of their Indian band return to Galasko’s village of Moschkingo. There Barbara and her friend and fellow-captive Marie settle into the ways of life there.  

Some characters that I believed did an excellent job in their roles include Lydia the English captive. She is an excellent motherly presence to this group of captured children. Barbara’s scene where she attempts to escape on a horse is another well-acted scene. The French lieutenant is devout and honorable, while Galasko and Hannowoa provide an interesting contrast to each other.

Lydia attempts to escape from Kittanning Village

The movie makes a natural break here, as young Barbara (Natalie Raccosin) becomes Barbara (Kelly Greyson). I would rate the first half of the movie 3/5 stars. Lydia and Fort Du Quesne are some of my favorite parts, but the erroneous portrayal of Braddock and the Kittanning raid bring the score down to 3/5. 

My next post will tackle the second half of the movie, with Kelly Greyson in the lead role.

(1) A fuller account of the financial wrangling in Pennsylvania can be found in Francis Parkman's classic Montcalm and Wolfe. Read it for free at
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/14517/pg14517-images.html (search for Chapter 13)

(2) pg. 18, Military Uniforms in America: The Era of the American Revolution 1755-1795 (San Rafael, CA: Presidio, 1975)

(3) pg. 258, Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. This source contains Colonel Armstrong's report to the Governor of Pennsylvania on the success of his raid. Available at: